Beer festivals, food festivals, dance festivals, light festivals: Brabant becomes a festival province

The number of festivals that take place in Eindhoven is growing rapidly. This is according to figures that Omroep Brabant, a local news outlet, requested from cultural marketing agency EM-Cultuur. This year, Eindhoven will host 54 more festivals than it did in 2018.

In total, there are 164 festivals in Brabant this year. Brabant therefore sits in third position as the Dutch province with the most festivals per year. In first and second place are North Holland and South Holland, who host 279 and 185 festivals per year respectively. However, unlike in North and South Holland, festival locations in Brabant are spread throughout the province.

Getting cultured

‘Brabant is doing well,’ says festival expert, Teun van Irsel. He added, ‘we have been stable in third place for several years. Festivals are very important to the provincial government. They are an easily accessible way for the public to get involved in cultural events. In addition, they allow is to show the beautiful things being made in Brabant.’

The large growth in the number of festivals can be quite easily explained, says Van Irsel. ‘Nowadays, in addition to traditional music festivals, there are also food and beer festivals. And the economy is doing well, so the number of festivals is always increasing.’

Top 3

Brabant’s biggest festivals are GLOW with its 760,000 visitors, and Dutch Design Week with 325,000 visitors. Both of these festivals take place in Eindhoven. Brabant’s third biggest festival takes place in Breda: Breda Jazz Festival with 250,000 visitors.

While the number of festivals is growing, the audience numbers remain roughly the same. Van Irsel believes that this means that in the long term future, the number of festivals will fall again. The growth in the amount of festivals will not continue forever, he says. Referring to the 54 new festivals launched this year, he says that ‘there is a limit. It would surprise me if so many festivals were added again next year’.

Number of festivals in 2019 per municipality

Breda: 16

Eindhoven: 34

Helmond: 2

Den Bosch: 13

Tilburg: 15

Bergen op Zoom: 7

Boxemeer: 1

Oosterhout: 3

Roosendaal: 3

Meier Riding Town: 2

Waalwijk: 1

Rest of the province: 64


Source: Omroep Brabant with Gert Jan Kusters

Translator: Rachael Vickerman

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